Frosé and Other Summer Cocktails on Better Connecticut

By Brian Mitchell, Max Restaurant Group Beverage Director

This morning I appeared on the taping of Better Connecticut, on Channel WFSB 3 in Hartford. They had a special request to get a demo of the immediately popular Fosé Cocktail, which has popped up everywhere this summer.  They also asked for a couple other summer drink options to check out as well.

The Frosé can kind of be made in two different ways – 1 as a simply wine blended with ice, or a bit closer to a cocktail construction where we add flavors such as strawberry and lemon and keep a sense of wine and fruit in the drink.  With the first option, while simple, it tends to water down the “wine” aspect of the drink as the ice melts, therefore you get less impact of flavor.  With the second method it takes a little planning ahead but the results are definitely tasty.

For the first method, you simply add your bottle of rosé wine the equal amounts of ice in a blender and blend until the ice is crushed and incorporated. Add to the glass and garnish as desired. Quick, easy and cold.

For the Frosé where we are making more of a cocktail style, here is what you do…

Strawberry Summer Frosé
Ingredients:
1 x 750 ml bottle hearty, bold rosé (such as a Pinot Noir, Malbec or Merlot rosé)
Strawberry syrup – ½ cup sugar infused with 8 ounces strawberries
• 2½ ounces fresh lemon juice

Preparation
1 750ml bottle of rosé frozen (but not in the original bottle – need to move to a flexible container such as a plastic bag, ice tray or open top pan so the expanding ice will not burst the glass)
This will take about 6 hours, but will not be completely frozen as alcohol has a very low freezing point

Bring sugar and ½ cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan; cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves, about 3 minutes. Add strawberries, remove from heat, and let sit 30 minutes to infuse syrup with strawberry flavor. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl (do not press on solids); cover and chill until cold, about 30 minutes.

Put frozen rosé into a blender.
Add lemon juice, 3½ ounces strawberry syrup, and 1 cup crushed ice and purée until smooth.
Transfer back to the freezer and freeze until frosé is thickened (aim for milkshake consistency), 30 minutes.
To serve, blend again until Frosé is slushy.
Serve in coupe glasses and garnish with a strawberry.

Other Summer Drinks:

Local Lemonade (Blueberry Version)
Ingredients:
10 fresh blueberries
1oz Vodka
1oz Whiskey
¾ oz Agave Syrup (1:1)
6oz Fresh Lemonade
Glass – 16oz Tumbler
Garnish – lemon wheel

Preparation
Add blueberries to glass and gently muddle
Add vodka, whiskey and agave, fill with ice, top with lemonade and garnish

Watermelon Crush (Snow Cone)
Ingredients:

Watermelon Juice – Depending on how much you want to make, juice some watermelon, but save the solids to infuse into the vodka for a few days.
Watermelon infused vodka
Basil Syrup and Lemon Juice

For single drinks – the ratio is about 3oz infused vodka, 3oz watermelon juice, 1oz lemon juice and 1/2oz basil syrup to flavor
This can be served in a mason jar over ice, garnish with a wedge of watermelon

For batches and the snow cones – juice the watermelon to make the base, then use the watermelon pulp to infuse the vodka for extra flavor, mix all and serve over crushed ice in a snow cone cup. A Straw helps.

 

Hartford Flavor Company Dinner

 

On Thursday June 1, 2017 Max’s Oyster Bar & The Savoy Roadshow hosted the Road Trip and Pop-Up Cocktail Pairing Dinner. While the original venue for the event was planned to be at the Hartford Flavor Company, the event was moved to Max’s Oyster Bar at West Hartford Center.

The reception of the dinner started with Seasonal Passed Hors d’Oeuvres with plays on familiar summer tastes paired with a strawberry and cranberry syrup with prosecco.

 

The first course consisted of a Crab & Cucumber Salad made with Maine Peeky Toe Crab, Marinated Cucumbers, Radish, Fresh Peas, Baby Greens, Honey Lemon Mint Vinaigrette paired with cool cucumber cocktail.

 

The second course consisted of a Pizza Bianco made with Ricotta, Goat Cheese, Fontina, Parmesan, Asaparagus, Prosciutto paired with a Rose Hip To Be Sour Drink.

The third course consisted of a Chai Spiced Roasted Chicken made with Curry Scented Couscous, Roasted Artichokes and Tzatziki Sauce.

The fourth course consisted of a Miso-Birch Glazed Pork Belly with Kimchi Ramen and Miso Broth with a Birch Old Fashioned Cocktail.

The fifth course consisted of a Lavender Spiced New Zealand Lamb with a Spring Vegetable Panzanella Salad, Ramp Pesto paired with a Lavender Boulavardier cocktail.

 

The final and sixth course ended with a Cranberry Milk Shake made with Strawberries, Cranberry Shortcake and Whipped cream accompanied by a piece of strawberry shortcake.

 (Published and Produced by Marketing & Communications Intern David Zambuto)

Trumbull Kitchen Patron Tequila Dinner

On Friday May 26 Trumbull Kitchen hosted its 2nd Patron Tequila Dinner in Downtown Hartford. The event featured a five course meal with a reception starting with chips and Charred tomato, tomatillo, habanero-mushroom.

The event’s first course consisted of Ostra en el Mitad Cascara; Blue Point oysters on the half shell with green adobo-smoky chipotle salsa.

The event’s second course featured Ensalada Capriana with Back yard drop and Zebrino tomatoes, napal-poblamo Rajasthan red sorrel and pumpkin seeds.

The event’s third course featured Wood Grilled Alaskan Halibut with Red chile marinade, guajilo mango salsa, warm rice salad and potato hay.

The event’s fourth course featured Carne Asada with Ancho grilled rib eye, black beans, house made crema and guacamole.

The event’s final course consisted of a Abuelita Chocolate Pecan Tart with XO whipped cream.

(Published and created by Marketing and Communications Intern David Zambuto)

Max’s Oyster Bar Hartford Flavor Dinner

Looking to start your weekend early ?

Join Max’s Oyster Bar on Thursday Evening on June 1, 2017 for a Road Trip and Pop-Up Cocktail Pairing Dinner at the Hartford Flavor Company with a reception starting at 6:30 pm.

Dinner will include a selection of several dishes that include: a selection of summer seasonal Hors d’Oeuvres, a Crab & Cucumber Salad, Pizza Bianco, a Chai Spiced Roasted Chicken, a Miso-birched Brazed Pork Belly, a Lavender Spiced New Zealand Lamb and ending with a Cranberry Milkshake.

The event will be lead by Chef Hunter Morton and Mixologist Derek Vitale alongside the Savoy Roadshow inspired from the flavors of Wild Moon Spirits and seasonal ingredients from local farms within Hartford County.

Ticket prices are $110 per person.

(Not including tax & gratuity)

Location of event: Hartford Flavor Company, 30 Arbor St, Hartford, CT 06106

For more information & reservations: http://mobtakeover.brownpapertickets.com/

(Published and Produced by Marketing and Communications Intern David Zambuto)

Amore Amari: Love the Dark Side of the Cocktail

We are Not Saying You Will Live Longer by Drinking Amaro,                              but you will definitely have a good time while you are here if you do…

Amore Amari: Love the Dark Side of the Cocktail

A COCKTAIL DINNER FOR THOSE A LITTLE MORE ADVENTUROUS

The word amaro literally means “bitter” in Italian.
And that’s just what we are celebrating, to varying degrees. Made by infusing a neutral spirit or wine with a blend of botanicals, Amaro is always aged in either a barrel or a bottle. Each expression uses a very specific recipe of ingredients like herbs, flowers, bark, and citrus peels to create its own unique character, which varies greatly based on where it’s produced. Tempered by adding sugar, some Amari are sweeter than others, but all have an underlying herbal bitterness, creating the intense and refreshing flavor that has made it such a popular drink in Europe, and now is highlighted as a key cocktail ingredient by the modern bartender.

While many countries have their own versions of the liqueur, Italy produces some of the best. This menu is designed to highlight the best of both worlds, with Amari cocktails by Anthony DeVito and a pairing menu to match by Chef Michael Touranjoe. Join us as we dive deep into the dark end with beautifully crafted cocktails and the menu to match.

March 14, 2017

Reception 6:15, Seating at 6:30

Reception

1.
Seaside Rendezvous
Hamachi
Canteloupe, Fennel Frawns, Yuzu Foam
Marinade with Tamarind, Ginger and Lime

2.
Chartreuse Mousse
Minted Pea Soup
Basil Crystals, Vanilla Crème Fraiche, Nutmeg

3.
Honey Don’t
Rosemary Shrimp Brochette
Salted Honey, Gingered White Balsamic Gastrique, Arugula

4.
Campari Fireball (Shot)
Blood Orange Sorbetto
Chartreuse Granita

5.
Boulevardier Variant
Short Rib Risotto
Chocolate, Bada Bing Cherry

6.
Senza Nome
Foie Gras
Smoked Strawberry Jam, Brioche, Ancho Demi Glaze, Chicory

Dessert
Maple Fernet
Sweet Raspberry Crêpe
Walnut, Bitter Sweet Chocolate, Fernet Branca Syrup

$85 per person
(not including tax or gratuity)

Please call Max Amore for Reservations
860-659-2819

140 Glastonbury Boulevard | Somerset Square | Glastonbury

Max Downtown to Host a “Pairings Dinner” June 12th

Pairing-Dinner-email-3 copy 2PAIRINGS DINNER
Max Downtown’s Chef and Sommelier are Combining Forces to host a Pairings Dinner featuring seasonal cuisine paired with wines, limited release beer and craft cocktails from the Max Downtown Collection

The menu has been created in a collaborative manner by
Chef Christopher Sheehan and
Sommelier Justin Gavry
In the manner of a tasting menu in order to
highlight the best of both the Kitchen and the Bar

Friday June 12th
6:30pm

1st course
LOBSTER STEAM BUN
pickled ramp brown butter
Cava Cocktail
Raventos I Blanc Cava | grilled-lemon & chili syrup

2nd course
PROSCIUTTO WRAPPED FIGS
house made ricotta, stonewall apiary honey
The Lady Sherry
Hidalgo Oloroso, POM & fresh lemon juice, shaken into coupe, float of Moscato d’Asti

3rd course
FERMES ST-CANUT PORCELET DE LAIT
green garlic spring bean ragout
White Gold
Ithaca Beer Co., Bottle Conditioned, Rustic Pale Wheat Ale

4th course
COFFEE CRUSTED WYOMING BUFFALO
squash soubise, marble potato, smoked tomato steak sauce
(side by side)
The Terraces Zinfandel, Napa Valley, 2012,
Jefferson’s #946 Ridiculously Small Batch Bourbon, Barreled for Max

5th course
BROWN’S FARM STRAWBERRY OLIVE OIL CAKE
champagne sabayon
Averna Amaro | Basil Syrup

6th course
PEDRO’S PARFAIT
vanilla gelato pedro ximenez parfait, chocolate biscotti crunch
Bodegas Toro Albala DON PX Gran Reserva, Montilla-Morilles,1985

$75 per person
(not including tax or gratuity)

Please call Max Downtown for reservations
Seating is very limited

(860) 522-2530
185 Asylum St | Hartford, CT | 06103

Steve Davis and Fall Cocktails at Max Downtown Friday Night

Jazz-&-Cocktails-REVISE copyCelebrations are in order for this Friday, October 3, 2014!

Max Downtown has made the Steve Davis Jazz Ensemble a permanent fixture here every Sunday. Plus, we’re unveiling our delicious seasonal fall cocktail menu!

Why not throw a party for your guests? Click here to make a reservation

Join us this Friday in the Tavern for complimentary hors d’oeuvres, live music from the Steve Davis Jazz Ensemble, and tasty libations!

To find out more about Steve Davis, click here

Chartreuse is sooo Very French, and at Max

by Brian Mitchell, Beverage Director, Max Restaurant Group

Chartreuse-Dinner-2014Chartreuse is one of those beverages that both excites people and makes them nervous – depending on your understanding and level of experience.  Made in the south of France by monks, this wonderful beverage has been made more or less continuously for over 500 years.  It is delicious, intense, makes a great addition to cocktails, or is great on its own (usually chilled and diluted with some ice).

This past week a very cool little video was posted online depicting a trip and some highlights of France and a trip the facility where Chartreuse is made.  You can view below or link directly to Chartreuse (click here).   By the way, Chartreuse in its varied forms is generally found at most Max locations, including The Cooper in Palm Beach Gardens.  Ask you server or bartender about this wonderful drink and what cocktails it can be enjoyed in…

Saturday is National Rum Day – YO HO!

National-Rum-Dayby Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director, Max Restaurant Group

Saturday August 16th, is National Rum Day!

Normally we do not get too caught up in all the National (fill in the blank) Days, but this one is right up our ally.  Rum is one of the top selling spirits in the world, and at the Max Restaurants we sell a lot of rum and rum-based drinks  – point of fact, our #1 selling mixed cocktail across the company is the Max Painkiller – a delicious rum-based, tropical TiKi styled drink.

Max-Painkiller-Rum
Well Chilled Max Painkillers

So come celebrate a day dedicated to the tasty fermented cane spirit by joining us at any of our locations.  We will be serving up the Max Painkiller, as wella as Hurricanes, Beachcombers, Mojitos, traditional Daiquiri,  Hemingways, Rum & Cokes, Dark & Stormies, or any of the vast number of rum drinks our bartenders can concoct for you. (Nothing frozen, though – sorry.)

A Little Rummy History

Fermented cane juice has been made in many areas of Asia and Africa going back probably millennia, but modern distilled rum production really dates to the 17th Century in the Caribbean.  Sugar became a valued commodity in Europe around this time as it had been fairly scarce, but the opening of the New World allowed for a continuous source of sugar.

A by-product of sugar production is molasses, which was not thought to have much use at first, but it was quickly discovered to be fermentable and then distillable.

Rum became a popular drink in both the old and new world regions, and especially in Colonial America (primarily New England and New York), where the technology for making and maintaining stills and ample supply of wood for barrels meant a refined product could be produced (and consumed).   Molasses were shipped in and refined into rum, before being shipped back out and used for trade, often for slaves, which were needed to work the sugar plantations to make more rum.  The Rum-Slave Triangle was formed by traders moving from West Africa to the Caribbean to population centers of New England and New York, moving “goods” back and forth.

rum-barrel-xxxAs rum was traded and shipped on the high seas it became a custom aboard naval ships, and eventually pirate ships.  Traditions among the Naval powers of Great Britain and others lasted well into the 20th century with daily rations, and even continue to this day with special occasion rations being given out to service persons.

Styles and Production of Rum

Rum is produced in many regions, but essentially there are three groups of styles, with variations or ageing categories within each group.  These main groups are often categorized by the language or tradition of the colonial power that was in control of the original production areas.  These colonial powers had favorite styles and from these grew both production and taste styles that more or less remain today.

  • English-speaking islands and countries are known for darker rums with a fuller taste that retains a greater amount of the underlying molasses flavor. Rums from Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada, Barbados, St.Lucia, Belize, Bermuda, Saint Kitts, the Demerara region of Guyana, and Jamaica are typical of this style.
  • French-speaking islands are best known for their agricultural rums (rhum agricole). These rums, being produced exclusively from sugar cane juice, retain a greater amount of the original flavor of the sugar cane and are generally more expensive than molasses-based rums. Rums from Haiti, Guadeloupe and Martinique are typical of this style.
  • Spanish-speaking islands and countries traditionally produce añejo rums with a fairly smooth taste. Rums from Cuba, Guatemala, Panama, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Colombia and Venezuela are typical of this style. Rum from the U.S. Virgin Islands is also of this style. The Canary Islands produces honey rum known as ron miel de Canarias and carries a geographical designation.

Jason Sowik from Max Burger Wins Medal at Food Smooze Martini Competition

By Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director, Max Restaurant Group

Congratulations to Jason Sowik, Bar Manager for Max Burger in West Hartford, for winning the Bronze Medal at last night’s WNPR Food Smooze Martini Competition.

WP_20140619_005Jason beat out over 30 other competitors to place third in a strong field of well conceived drinks from some of Connecticut’s best drink makers.

Using a combination of fresh blueberries and limes, Jason’s drink was simple yet elegant and delicious.  A Blueberry Moji-tini, is a take on a traditional Mojito, to which Jason adds fresh blueberries.  He served this up in a mini-martini glass for the evening, hence the “tini” twist.  Pretty simple but very drinkable recipe.

Jason can be found tending the stick at Max Burger in West Hartford, where he and his team have fun mixing all kinds of modern and traditional drink combinations.

Click Here to see the link on the event round up and all the competition results.

Forager Cocktail #1 – Rosedale Flower

By Brian Mitchell, Corporate Beverage Director, Max Restaurant Group

Rosedale FarmsLast night we had the pleasure of kicking off our new season for the Max Chef to Farm Series, now in its 7th season.  This dinner series is a popular series where we take the Max experience out to local farms and present meals based on the ingredients available at that point in the season and what we can source locally.

This series has become so popular that we routinely sell out each event, and often have a wait list.  Chef Scott Miller along with a number of the other Max Chefs creates thoughtful, delicious meals with locally sourced farm produce as well as locally sourced meats, cheeses and seafood.  For my part, I get to start the evening off with a welcome cocktail when guests arrive, and in line with the locally sourced ingredients I try to find not only local produce or other ingredients to make this cocktail.  I also like to find local, or at least hand-crafted / artisanly produced, spirits for the base of these drinks.

For the summer of 2014, I have decided to theme my drinks under the umbrella name/concept of Forager Cocktails, and will be producing a series of these drinks for each C2F dinners through the season, each making best use of local ingredients available at that point in the season.

I had so many requests last night for my recipe that I am posting here for any to see and use.  Please feel free to contact me if you need assistance or have questions on how to recreate this cocktail or any others in the series.

Rosedale StrawberriesFor the Forager Cocktail #1, I made a drink based on a slightly obscure, but well thought out drink called the Artemis Flower.  This drink combines fresh ingredients that fit perfectly with what is available in early summer –  berries.  For my part, I called this drink the Rosedale Flower, as we were serving the dinner at Rosedale Farms in Simsbury, Ct, and the main ingredient here were the strawberries picked fresh that morning.

I used the berries with some Bourbon, fresh lime juice, house made “sambuca”, and a thyme syrup that I made in the morning.  The “sambuca” actually makes use of a few other locally sourced items for a great flavor twist that is hard to replicate.  I use Rime Vodka, which is made by Westford Hill Distillers in Ashford, Ct as the base, to which I infused about a dozen (per 750ml of vodka) fennel blossom heads into slowly for about 3-4 hours.  This process allows me to pull the flavor out of the fennel, but not the harsh green components that would detract from the lovely licorice flavors.  I added some sugar to balance and the result is very similar to a Sambuca.

My Bourbon of choice for the night is a small production bourbon called Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon, from Kentucky.  This is an 88 proof whiskey that is actually aged about 8 years for mellowing.  I like the power this bottling has, along with the deep bourbon flavor, and the extra touch of proof did not hurt at all.  In fact, the tempering of alcohol by the sweetness from the fresh thyme syrup was perfect.  Very simple to make, I used a big fist of thyme sprigs and added them while the water was still cool and then let it steep as it came up in temperature.  Once I could smell the thyme strongly, I pulled it off the heat just before boiling.  I let it sit for a few minutes and then strained out the leaves and stems.  While still hot, I mixed in equal parts (by volume) of granulated sugar to make my syrup.  Very flavorful and delicious – adding a great extra flavor element to this drink.

anyone can make this drink at home, and if you are willing to go a little extra for the local and the home-made ingredients, then you will have an even more special experience – something we try to achieve out on the farm.

Forager #1 Rosedale FlowerForager Cocktail # 1 – The Rosedale Flower
In a mason jar –
Add 3-4 fresh picked strawberries – lightly crushed, but not pulverized
Then combine in jar
2oz Corner Creek Bourbon
½ oz House-made fennel-buca (you can use regular Sambuca like Meletti)
¾ oz Thyme Syrup
½ fresh lime juice
Let sit for a few minutes to absorb the strawberry juice
Fill with ice, add splash of Club Soda and serve with Thyme sprig for garnish